Smoke Filled Room
I’m a big fan of the Law of Unintended Consequences, specifically, “A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended.” Essentially, I am a connoisseur of irony.
To be successful in the primary, a candidate must be at the far fringes of their party in order to appeal to that party’s base, whether Republican or Democrat.
This is a direct result of post-Watergate throwing open the proverbial “smoke-filled rooms,” where the party’s elite would decide on their candidates for different offices based on who they felt most likely to be successful plus a lot of “horse trading”.
Replacing “smoke-filled rooms” with primaries to directly select candidates was considered more democratic.
However, the exact opposite has occurred, due to low voter turnout for primaries. Those voters that do turn out tend to be at the extremes of the party.
Please note that I am using Eric Cantor as an example only; neither party appeals to my interests for a variety of reasons.